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Sunday Brew — April 18, 2021


Speeding does not make sense

WHAT happened on the highway named after one of Jamaica’s foremost heroes last Monday only goes to show that speeding is not worth it.

At a time when so many drivers are on the loose, many of whom are not properly trained or get in this mad rush to make money, it is important to be as focused as you can be on the road. This message will not break through to taxi and minibus drivers, regrettably, even after the latter added to the over 100 people killed on the road since the start of this year, due to recklessness. And there is a real danger in all of this.

The fastest drivers on the road are those who operate public passenger vehicles. If they get 20 traffic tickets from the police each week, it does not deter them. Even after something like what happened on the PJ Patterson Highway at the start of last week, these drivers will not change gear. They all seem to be programmed to drive recklessly.

There is a logic that the faster you drive, the more danger you expose yourself to, and rushing to get from point A to point B makes no sense.

I remember soon after I passed my driver’s licence test I wanted to prove a point that I should not allow anyone to get in front of me, and even when my vehicle was overtaken I somehow had to make a statement that the person who did that was disrespectful. I would normally chase him down, depending on the speed of his vehicle, and pass him. It didn’t take me long to realise the folly of my ways. One glance at the statistics from the Road Safety Unit of the Ministry of Transport reinforced the point that stupidity was at play in my case.

Far fewer Jamaican drivers can do without using the words ‘If me did know’ when they get into road collisions. All they need to do is cut their speed on the roads, some of which have some unhealthy potholes that you definitely don’t want to fall into at top pace.

My position to anyone who requires a ride from me: Do not travel with me if you expect fast driving. This is not a time to speed. It is a time to proceed within range of the speed limit and watch like a hawk for the demons on the road who will never stop rushing, even if recent evidence suggests that it is time to take things easy.

The class of ‘Babsy’ Grange

MANY people would have thought that when Cabinet Minister Olivia Grange issued a statement through her highly efficient communication director, Oliver Watt, last Sunday, denouncing an attack by a man alleged to have been a Member of Parliament, against a woman, it would have been an Opposition MP involved.

Not so. And the woman we all call Babsy knew that right away. It was a member of her own Jamaica Labour Party who had been allegedly involved in the fit of rage, courtesy of a video camera attached to a house in close proximity.

It did not matter to Grange at the time [or even now] that a JLP, or People’s National Party disciple was beating the hell out of a woman. What mattered to the Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment, and Sport, was that, again, another sufferer was the recipient of a brutal beating from the opposite sex, which has been the norm in recent months.

The goodly lady deserves every commendation for jumping from the blocks first in dishing out condemnation of the act, despite the allegation that one who sits on her side of the House of Representatives was involved.

She could have remained quiet. The good thing is that she didn’t. Now, the globe will understand how this champion woman operates, especially when it comes to defending hapless women against the brutality of men.

I have always insisted that the only way a man should be involved in a physical fight with a woman is if he is attacked and therefore has the right to defend himself, or has a hunch that he will be attacked and moves swiftly to protect himself.

Based upon what I saw in the widely circulated video, the man, who is assumed to be the Member of Parliament for Westmoreland Central, was the aggressor. If, as time goes along, he is fingered along guilty lines, following the decision by the police not to proceed with the case ‘for now’, he must realise that when he gets into certain positions — like that of a member of the Legislature — his everyday conduct before his entry into elective politics must change. In other words, some of the things that he used to do before he was called to higher service would have to stop.

In a time like this when social media has expanded, everyone must be careful of how he or she operates in the public, or sometimes in the private space too, for you never know who is monitoring you — legally or not.

But, back to Babsy. This country has seen the behaviour of an elected official, which warrants commendation. So many would have, in the Jamaican parlance, turned a blind eye to the matter and tried to sweep the potential stain of party shame under the proverbial carpet, and wait until the party has issued a statement, which it rightly did. Not Babsy. She was, in cricket terms, into the shot from early, and scored a classy boundary that was fittingly acknowledged by the shouts from all around.

Time to address social media’s deadliness

AND as the subject of social media comes up and becomes even more relevant as the days go by, the Government will have no choice but to proceed to enact legislation that will deter some from slaughtering others anytime they feel like.

Journalists who work for newspapers, radio stations and television entities in particular cannot venture too far outside the box when it comes to providing information to the public about people, places and things. They are subjected to harsh defamation laws that have prevented practitioners from putting certain stories out there in the public space.

Many times, even when these stories hit the streets, legal challenges are launched, aimed at getting compensation for the party that considers itself aggrieved, or sending a message to younger practitioners that they should stay far from pursuing certain stories or end up in court, even though the evidence might be weak.

As far as social media goes, although there are avenues for challenging people in court – those who make spurious claims on the various platforms – it is not as clear-cut as what now obtains in traditional media.

Two recent matters come to mind readily. One has to do with the serious allegations made against the General Secretary of the PNP, Dr Dayton Campbell; the other against PNP Senator Peter Bunting…by the same individual.

It cannot be so easy for people to just get up and verbally slaughter others on social media, which now has a far bigger audience than traditional media, and yet there is no provision to deal with such matters as high priority.

In the case of Dr Campbell, the allegations are unbelievable. He has said that he has turned the matter over to his lawyers, who have demanded an apology. Now, that seems quite odd, for if someone made such claims about me publicly and I know that they are wrong, I would seek no apology. I would proceed with a defamation claim in court right away and perhaps even seek an injunction to prevent that person from spewing more garbage in the public space.

Up to now I have seen no apology anywhere, so let us see what the next move will be. Nine days have passed, so we will know if this turns out to be another wonder.

More power to Craig Powe for standing up

MANY were shocked to see a young man, Craig Powe, stand up boldly in expressing himself about what he went through after contracting the dangerous novel coronavirus twice.

Powe was even firm in his view that what he experienced even challenged his manhood, and prohibited his efforts to rise to certain occasions in the way that he was most qualified to.

But the more important message that Powe wanted to send was that Jamaicans as a whole should not joke around with this disease.

He is a courageous young man. I met him before at one of my favourite chill spots in St Andrew and was impressed at the end of the initial contact. I am even more impressed now with the man’s insistence that people, especially men, some of whom now have challenges getting up to fulfill some of their private obligations, should take heed.

Powe is who you call a real big man. He could have hugged up his pain and all that he felt while he got treatment for COVID-19 but he chose to go public, for which the people of this country, and even beyond, owe him a debt of gratitude.

I believe that before long he will be back to his best, and muscularly doing the things from which he can take great pleasure.

 

 

Speeding does not make sense

 

WHAT happened on the highway named after one of Jamaica’s foremost heroes last Monday only goes to show that speeding is not worth it.

At a time when so many drivers are on the loose, many of whom are not properly trained or get in this mad rush to make money, it is important to be as focused as you can be on the road. This message will not break through to taxi and minibus drivers, regrettably, even after the latter added to the over 100 people killed on the road since the start of this year, due to recklessness. And there is a real danger in all of this.

The fastest drivers on the road are those who operate public passenger vehicles. If they get 20 traffic tickets from the police each week, it does not deter them. Even after something like what happened on the PJ Patterson Highway at the start of last week, these drivers will not change gear. They all seem to be programmed to drive recklessly.

There is a logic that the faster you drive, the more danger you expose yourself to, and rushing to get from point A to point B makes no sense.

I remember soon after I passed my driver’s licence test I wanted to prove a point that I should not allow anyone to get in front of me, and even when my vehicle was overtaken I somehow had to make a statement that the person who did that was disrespectful. I would normally chase him down, depending on the speed of his vehicle, and pass him. It didn’t take me long to realise the folly of my ways. One glance at the statistics from the Road Safety Unit of the Ministry of Transport reinforced the point that stupidity was at play in my case.

Far fewer Jamaican drivers can do without using the words ‘If me did know’ when they get into road collisions. All they need to do is cut their speed on the roads, some of which have some unhealthy potholes that you definitely don’t want to fall into at top pace.

My position to anyone who requires a ride from me: Do not travel with me if you expect fast driving. This is not a time to speed. It is a time to proceed within range of the speed limit and watch like a hawk for the demons on the road who will never stop rushing, even if recent evidence suggests that it is time to take things easy.

 

 

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